The dating industry is big business, especially post-lockdown. It’s like every single person on the planet, assuming they own a cell phone, has downloaded a dating app or five. Aside from the emotional price of finding romance, it’s the real financial fallout from dating that worries me, like the cost of all that dating lark. I’ve never added it all together before, so here goes…
App subscriptions, drinks, dinner, nails, hair, bikini line wax if it’s beyond the third date (or not, in my case – read on), I think that we could be talking about the same amount as a year’s contribution to a modest retirement pot.
To me? Apps: £400, Waxing: £120, Nails: £250, Hair: £1,500, Clothes: £450, Taxis: £150.
There are several dating apps on the market, but let’s start with the app that everyone I know uses or has used at some point in the past two years. Introducing Hinge (as in, unhinged), an app that, like all dating apps, is free to download. However, you can’t really message anyone unless you – yes, you guessed it – upgrade. The wise owls at Hinge call it “preferred membership”, which costs £27 a month, £55 for three months or £86.99 for six.
Hear me now, believe me later, when I say no woman has ever found a boyfriend on Hinge in the span of a month. The same goes for women seeking women, men seeking women, men seeking men, or any other variation. So let’s say it will take a year, which comes out to £173.98.
Then there’s Tinder, a company that in January created a storm over a Stannah stairlift when the world discovered it was charging over-50s higher membership fees in some parts of the world. . His rationale? Apparently, Tinder wants to give college-aged kids affordable access to the site, which, reading between the lines, means it assumes older people have more money, which is often wrong. It’s certainly discriminatory, not to mention downright rude. The app has since fixed its pricing structure, which the website says will be sorted this year by the end of the second quarter. So it should be fine soon, right?
I’ve had a terrible time on Tinder in the past. First, the app downloaded to the “family sharing” part of my phone, which meant – how awful – that my Tinder profile was available to all my loved ones (I answered all their humiliating questions by: “I’m a writer! It’s just do research!”); then the algorithm matched me with a range of men I would never meet in real life. Well, I guess I would have met Clive the Garbage Collector, if I’d taken out the trash soon enough.
There’s nothing wrong with cleaning up trash as a job – please don’t get me wrong – it’s just that more broadly, men on Tinder tended to open the conversation with overt innuendos. sexual. “Nice legs and I bet you have a nice butt,” one post read. Full disclosure: Clive the binman didn’t open with a garbage innuendo (get it?)
Anyway, I just typed “how the hell does Tinder work?” in Dr. Google, and here’s what came out: “Tinder is an online dating app that matches couples based on their physical attraction to each other. It alerts you to other Tinder users who are within a specified age range and gender and are within a certain distance of your location, and it lets you know if you have mutual friends. Well, that’s a lie: it matched me ‘super’ with Clive, who works and lives in South London, while I live in North West London.
Whatever. Life is too short to worry about flawed algorithms; let’s focus on math. Tinder is free, but to get unlimited likes you must, yes, upgrade. Just like the mezze menu at your favorite restaurant, there are many specialties to choose from, from Tinder Plus to Tinder Gold to Tinder Platinum. And this year they plan to launch Tinder Passport and a feature called “See who likes you”.
As with all mezze plates, which inevitably include something not quite to their liking, I don’t understand unnecessary upgrade options, in fact, I’m baffled by super matches, messaging instant, tastes, etc. etc But here’s the gist: signing up for Tinder Platimum costs £24.99 a month (I think; that’s very hard to tell without downloading it again and, well, Family Sharing and all that).
I’m not going to dissect all the dating apps endlessly, but let’s just say that if you subscribe to several, between Hinge, Full Circle, Tinder, Bumble, Match and Happen, you could lose up to £200 a month .
Then there is the preparation for your appointment. Gird up your loins, gentlemen, because you will glimpse our minds, our bathrooms, our beauty salons. In order to feel confident – and apologies in advance for oversharing – I like to be waxed. I don’t go out with the intention of having sex or doing anything, I just like to feel good in my pants. I get waxed for me, not for someone else.
And while we’re on the subject of pants, nice underwear isn’t exactly cheap either: another thing I like to do for myself is wear nice underwear. Ditto shiny red manicure, pedicure, refreshed hair color, haircut, blow-dry, new top and possibly some perfume.
And then there’s the actual date: drinks, dinner, tickets to an event or concert, and an Uber house.
If I mentally start adding this, it’s far more than anything Dr. Google is suggesting, which is mostly derived from a quote from a 2019 survey of 2,000 adults conducted by the online dating service Plenty of Fish. This suggests that the average single person spends around £1,349 a year on dating, with men spending more than women due to more frequent bill paying. I would say it costs way more than that, especially three years later. (And on the subject of men footing the bill, if you’d like some insight into the finances involved in beauty prep before the date, let me know and I’ll get to you. Let’s put it this way – I ‘d rather take the bill.)
No one mentions that by now you might need a second job. They say love hurts, and it certainly does – it hurts my wallet.
Surely there must be a better way. It may be time to quit apps for the 70th time in two years. Or maybe I should consider making my own. I can already hear the radio jingle: “Prepare to mingle with Stacey’s singles.”